That doesn't matter. The important question is -- will you?
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In many companies, IT isn't at the cool table.
The marketing team is busy creating a mobile app for customers. The product design team is cooking up an Internet of Things opportunity, or product managers are figuring out how a physical book, loan application, or concert could be recast as a digital experience. The IT organization often is left out of these customer-facing development efforts, or it's called in toward the end to patch data security holes or integrate a forgotten data element.
This trend of cutting IT teams out of digital efforts, combined with reports on how tech spending by execs outside of IT is on the rise, has commentators fretting about the future of the IT department.
But that's not your problem.
The right question for you is: Are you one of the people these groups would call in to move one of these projects forward? Is your team seen as one that has indispensable skills in getting creative, customer-facing technology projects up and running -- quickly and with high quality?
We just did a survey in which we asked 92 non-IT professionals to name the single biggest thing IT could do to improve its value. Tops (cited by 30%) is for IT to work more closely with business units. Just 8% want more innovative ideas. Business unit leaders want a technology partner, working side by side with them.
Helping the next generation of IT leaders navigate this new digital terrain is the reason we created our first InformationWeek IT Leadership Summit, coming Sept. 30 in New York City as part of Interop New York. (Access full agenda and registration here.) We see this one-day gathering as a place for CIOs to send their most promising leaders in order to build a deeper bench of digital talent.
No question, companies still need strong, central technology leadership in the coming digital/cloud era. But you and your teams will need the skills to guide a different kind of technology development -- one that's hyper-responsive to customer needs and changing tastes and isn't tolerant of anything that gets in the way.
Companies need technology leaders prepared to answer this question: If Airbnb can build a tech-based business valued at $10 billion while having just four to eight people in IT operations because it runs on Amazon cloud infrastructure, why can't we get our Web app more quickly?
Josh Oakhurst, chief strategy officer for digital development firm Skookum Digital Works, says he's seeing a new generation of tech-smart business leaders who just want to build something great -- to take on "aspirational technology projects." These leaders reject the "silly Silicon Valley fail-fast idea," he says, and instead they expect technology to work out of the gate. (Oakhurst will be one of our Summit speakers, in a workshop session titled "Getting Digital Done.")
InformationWeek's mission with our IT Leadership Summit is the same one you should have. It isn't to get all of IT to the cool table. It's to get you there. Please join us.
In its ninth year, Interop New York (Sept. 29 to Oct. 3) is the premier event for the Northeast IT market. Strongly represented vertical industries include financial services, government, and education. Join more than 5,000 attendees to learn about IT leadership, cloud, collaboration, infrastructure, mobility, risk management and security, and SDN, as well as explore 125 exhibitors' offerings. Register with Discount Code MPIWK to save $200 off Total Access & Conference Passes.
Chris Murphy is editor of InformationWeek and leader of its Strategic CIO community. He has been covering technology leadership and strategy issues for InformationWeek since 1999. Before that, he was editor of the Budapest Business Journal, a business newspaper in Hungary; ... View Full Bio